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Monday,July 06,2020 21:30 PM

Zambian president is dead

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th August 2008 03:00 AM

ZAMBIAN President Levy Mwanawasa died in a French hospital yesterday after suffering a stroke several weeks ago, Vice-President Rupiah Banda announced to the nation.

ZAMBIAN President Levy Mwanawasa died in a French hospital yesterday after suffering a stroke several weeks ago, Vice-President Rupiah Banda announced to the nation.


and Agencies

ZAMBIAN President Levy Mwanawasa died in a French hospital yesterday after suffering a stroke several weeks ago, Vice-President Rupiah Banda announced to the nation.

“Fellow countrymen, with deep sorrow and grief, I would like to inform the people of Zambia that our president Dr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa died this morning at 10:30 hours (08:30 GMT),” Banda said on state television.

“I also wish to inform the nation that national mourning starts today (Tuesday) and will be for seven days,” Banda, who is expected to take over as acting president, according to Zambia’s constitution, added. Elections are expected to be called soon.

Mwanawasa suffered a stroke during the 11th Africa Union Summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. He was on 29th June admitted to Sharm-el-Sheikh International Hospital and was on July 1 transferred to the Percy Military Hospital in Paris, France.

Uganda joined the continent in mourning the fallen president. “It is sad,” the regional affairs minister, Isaac Musumba, said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he added, was in touch with Uganda’s high commission in Tanzania, for details before the Government officially sends condolences.

“Africa has lost a democrat who has been eloquent in restoring virtues of democracy especially in people like [President Robert] Mugabe. We have lost an icon,” Musumba mourned.

Mwanawasa, 59, was a favourite with donors for tackling corruption and as the strongest critic of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe for the political crisis in that country.

Mwanawasa described as scandalous the silence by regional leaders on the violence in which opposition politicians and supporters were killed.

Under Mwanawasa, Musumba observed, relations between Uganda and Zambia were “fine.”

The minister recalled that President Yoweri Museveni met Mwanawasa in Malaysia at the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management meeting before the AU summit where he suffered a stroke. During the 2008 Global Southern Africa International Smart Partnership Dialogue in Zambia, Musumba explained, Mwanawasa presented a paper “which showed him as being abreast with issues affecting Africa.”

“On that front he shared commitment with our President.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said: “The president of the Republic presents in his own name and in the name of the French people, his most saddened condolences to his family and the Zambian people.”

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai described Mwanawasa as a “good friend.”

“I have, with great sadness, learnt of the passing-on of a good friend and comrade,” Tsvangirai said in a statement.

“As an individual and as a party, we have always hoped and prayed for his speedy recovery. Sadly, he has left us at this most trying time.” Tsvangirai added that he would travel to Zambia.

Mwanawasa was the chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community.

Due to his illness, he missed the August 16-17 heads of state and government summit in Sandton City in South Africa, during which he was supposed to hand over to South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki.

Mwanawasa built his reputation as a lawyer for the former opposition. As president, he curbed government spending and launched the biggest anti-corruption drive since Zambia won independence from Britain in 1964.

Mwanawasa became vice-president in 1991 after Frederick Chiluba ousted founding President Kenneth Kaunda in landmark multiparty elections.

Soon after winning the presidency in 2001, he stunned observers by turning on Chiluba with corruption allegations.

Mwanawasa narrowly defeated opposition leader Michael Sata in a presidential election in 2006. Sata accused Mwanawasa of selling out Zambia to Chinese and Indian companies.

Zambian president is dead

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